Well, I have officially been back to work for a week. As in going to my job four days in a row. As in leaving before LP wakes up. As in getting home just in time for dinner. As in thinking about what I have to do for work while I’m playing with Legos and pining for Legos while I’m in a mindless meeting. As in nursing a baby and wishing I could sit at my computer to record all the lesson ideas I’m having.
Basically, I’m going back to feeling split in two. The word “split” here might have a negative connotation, but in reality I’m starting to think it’s not such a bad thing. I’m really enjoying work. I’m excited about my classes, my co-teacher, my classroom library, etc. Also, going to work makes me appreciate my time at home so much more. I’m so happy to NOT be working from home! I’m a better parent when I go to work, do my work, then come home and focus on my family. This would be extra hunky-dory if my commute wasn’t an hour long, but I guess you can’t have everything.
You never stop being a parent, even when you leave your kids to go to work. And you never stop being a teacher, even when you close up your classroom for the night. I’ve spent the last decade of my career striving to find some magical way to feel “done” in one or both of these spheres because “done” is usually what makes me feel comfortable about a project. At this point I think it’s as good as I’m gonna get. I do my best to do my major work projects at work and then leave them there – but I’m still going to be thinking about lesson plans, independent reading books, close reading strategies, writing feedback, etc. while I’m nursing IP. I’m going to try to be focused on my students when I’m teaching and conferencing, but part of me will still be dying to phone home and ask how it went when the G-man dropped LP off for his first day of school.
It’s good to have boundaries. Boundaries between my work and personal life have prevented me from burning out. But these boundaries are pretty permeable, and I’m starting to think that embracing this permeability needs to be part of my effort to be a “balanced” person. Maybe balance isn’t about firming up the boundaries, but is instead about acknowledging and embracing the ebb and flow of life that make these boundaries so blurry.
Kiddo Update in Pictures: